I won't get all sentimental about it this time. Suffice it to say: two piles of feathers later, and half our flock's gone. The FYD had picked up some "spare"* chicks from our local farmers' union so we'll be back up to five layers in no time.
In the meantime, though -- the fox got the alpha hen so there is a power vacuum. The remaining chickens have been skirmishing and one of them's gone broody so none of them are laying. We don't dare let them out when we can't watch them superclosely, which has been not-at-all lately. SIGH. Is there such a thing as grief counselors for chickens? My mom has a masseuse for her horses, so we can't be too far away from that profession being real. For real.
We are, perhaps, not cut out to be gentleman farmers. I am meant to go out with a flashlight "several times" tonight to see if there is a caterpillar eating my rainbow chard, and FUCKTHATITISJUSTCHARDICANBUYITATFARMERSMARKET.
But I have set out: chard, 5 kinds of tomatoes, potatoes, raspberries, hardy kiwi, sunflowers, cucumbers, three kinds of peppers, two kinds of eggplant, and basil, (along with marigolds and nasturtium to draw away the veggie-predators) and waiting to be planted are zucchini, four types of squash, and pumpkins. Harvesttime, what what!
So, I'll do a tentative cross off to "grow things" on the ol' OLR. Anybody else gardening out there? Want to come look for caterpillars with me tonight? I'll bring wine! And DEET!
*Every year people order chicks, pay for them, and then never pick them up. We got our hands on a couple of barred rocks before they were shipped off to a big chicken farm.